Science and Exploration

Apollo 15: The Original Interplanetary Mountaineers

By Keith Cowing
August 2, 2014
Filed under , ,
Apollo 15: The Original Interplanetary Mountaineers
Apollo 15 EVAs

The lofty Apennine Mountain Range has two prominent peaks near the Apollo 15 landing site: Mt. (Mons) Hadley (relative height ~4km, or 13,000 ft) to the northeast and Mons Hadley Delta (~3.5 km, 11,500 ft high) to the south.
Between these two peaks lies the Swann Range, named for the mission’s Geology Team Leader, Gordon Swann. The Apennine Mountain Range contains some of the largest peaks on the Moon! The height of Mt. Hadley rivals the prominences of notable terrestrial mountains like Mt. Rainier (USA), Mt. Fuji (Japan), and Mt. Erebus (Antarctica), when measured from base to summit.

The first Apollo 15 EVA took astronauts David Scott and James Irving southward along the edge of Hadley Rille and to the base of Mt. Hadley Delta near St. George crater. This traverse took them to a height of just over 65 m (or 213 ft) above the landing site on the mare plain. At this height, much of the surface material of the mountain comprises debris that, over eons, slid down the upper slopes through mass-wasting. Materials collected in this area primarily consist of regolith, as there are very few surface boulders.

larger image and more information

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.